Monday, September 24, 2012


TR and my Salsa Selma Ti 29er SS. Race prep going on.

The view from where we were parked in Crested Butte. Perfect weather.

The Crested Butte 100 kicked off just a bit after 7am on Saturday morning. Temperatures were in the low 30's and it was a cold roll out to Strand. The hands were cold but I knew the climbs would start soon and the body would warm up. This year we navigated the three loops in reverse order from last year. First on tap was Strand Trail to Deer Creek and back to town via Gothic Road. This loop took me about 3 hours and Deer Creek is never easy no matter if you have fresh legs or not. That is my opinion. I was feeling the affects of the Vapor Trail two weeks earlier and knew I was in for a long day. My goal was to cut some time off from last year or come close to the same time.

I rolled into town going back to my van parked at the gas station parking lot which had me backtracking a bit as the order of loops was not in my favor where I had  parked the van. IT worked well last year in how the loops were laid out. Oh well it wasn't that big of a deal. I refueled and headed back to the Brick Oven where we needed to check in before each loop. I headed out to the Slate De Juez road climb that would bring us to the 403 Trail. It seemed like I walked much more than normal and the 32x21 gearing wasn't helping much. Shawn Gregory was up front smashing it on a 3x20 setup. I knew it was going to be a long day.

The downhill on the 403 was steep and loose. What a fun downhill. Roots and rocks abound. Once down the 403 the route takes a left and heads up to Schofield Pass where we take a right on the 401 trail. The first mile or so it uphill and I walked/rode when needed. The downhill on the 401 is worth the ride up the pass. This year they added the lower 401 which has a nice climb in it before dumping us back on the Gothic Road. I cursed a bunch while in the lower 401. Damn hills. I passed some people while on the 401 and was passed as well by the people with gears. At times during the ride thus far I was leap frogging with the same people. I saw Jefe off and on and while I was on the pavement heading into town he caught me. I said to him something in the affect of "fucking gears". He laughed and said he was done. He complemented me on how I was smashing it. I didn't feel like I was smashing it but rather I was getting smashed. It was nearing 3pm and I felt good about having another sub 11 hour ride. I wasn't going to win but I was doing my own ride. I had seen a few single speeders who had passed me in the first section of this loop and I had caught back up to them. One on the 403 where Butch had smashed his chain ring and looked to be done for the day. Another one was Dan who was crushing it earlier and looked as though now he was being crushed. I had seen Steve Reiter headed down from Schofield saying he was done and was heading back to town to call it a day. That put me in third seat in the single speeder category according to my calculations. Not a bad day so far. Keep it going.

I pulled up to the van and saw that TR's bike was next to his van and knew he wasn't having a great day. I had last seen TR on the final climb up to Strand and never saw him again. I had heard there was a mechanical from other riders. Bummer! It was 3pm and I tried to talk to him and get my food shoved down the hatch and refill for the third and final lap which was the easiest and about 25 miles in length but I knew it would be hard. TR said he was done and had called it a day after coming down the 403 and rode up the road to Schofield about a mile and a half. He still had 61 miles in. Not a bad day. To not finish sucks but sometimes it doesn't happen. Dan Holmes was having a great day and was right behind me coming into the van nation parking area.

I knew if I had a three hour loop I would have my sub 11 hour day. I checked in at the Brick Oven and headed out up the road which leads to Kebler Pass. We take a left before the pass going up to the old town of Irwin and Irwin Lake. We jump on the Dyke trail which is about 6 miles and has some up and downs in it which would hurt. I felt good going in to it and had to walk less than I was anticipating. I leaped frog with a guy from Junction named Dustin. He was on a 29er full squish bike that looked fun. After picking our way through the Dyke section there was the climb up to Kebler and over to Wagon Wheel that parallels the highway back to town and the finish. I had though earlier in the ride where was Jason Stubbe with  the cold Cokes like last year where I saw him three times with Cokes. And out of the blue there was Jason and his family with cold Cokes on the climb to Kebler. Fuck-n-a!!!!!! What a trail angel!!! Thanks for the Coke Jason as I was needing it. I downed the Coke and kept pedaling slowly up to the pass. I wasn't fast but had dropped the geared dude from Junction. I got up and over the pass and headed onto the Wagon Wheel trail that follows the highway for a few miles before jumping onto the road and a two mile finish into town. I finished around 5.50pm putting me faster than last year and under my 11 hour goal. I think I was around 10 hours and 40 minutes or so. Hell yeah.

Garmin stats: Riding time (moving time) 10 hours 5 minutes. 95.2 miles. 12, 360 feet of climbing. Average heart rate was 141. Gearing 32x21 on the 29er Salsa Selma Ti SS. 3rd single speeder.

The after party was fun and I chatted with new and old friends at the Brick Oven.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

VAPOR TRAIL 125 2012

Wow, another great adventure at the 2012 Vapor Trail 125. I was hell bent on cutting time off from last year’s effort but it was not to be. I was actually an hour and half slower in the end. 

I felt I was fairly ready for the hard all night effort and felt good at the 10pm start. The neutral start was fast paced and when we hit the dirt it was game on. I didn’t chase anybody and marked two single speeders in front of me just to keep track of where they were. While on the dirt road climb to Blanks Cabin where we would start our first single track shredding I passed Andy (single speeder) pumping up his tire. I knew he was fast and would be back at it hard to catch up.

I continued on in the dark looking forward to first ribbons of single track which happened to be the Colorado Trail. Another plus was that at the first rest stop there would be hot breakfast burritos served. While on my way on the Colorado Trail I encountered a fallen tree which had left a large divot in the trail. There were extra pink ribbons warning of a hazard on the stump. I thought the warning flag was referring to the divot and rolled on through. Well I was wrong as I rolled through and came upon a two to three foot from on the other side. I was committed and went ass over end. Luckily no injuries except that my right brake handle was pushed down.

I brushed myself off and adjusted the brake handle. A few other riders rolled up on me and asked if I was ok. It must have looked worse than it was. Well, it was a bad one but no harm. Let’s roll on.
I was a bit more cautious as I rolled on to our first rest stop. There is some rocky sections on the CT in the first 20 some miles. No reason to get crazy at this point in the ride. I looked down at my split times as I arrived at our first stop from last year that I had taped to my handlebars. I arrived within minutes from last years’ time. I scarfed down a burrito, refueled a bit and headed back into the night.

The next section (I break every ride into sections) was the grind to Alpine Tunnel. On my way to Alpine Tunnel, Brett Foster, a Seattle dude caught me. He is a single speeder as well and has the biggest beard I have ever seen on a cyclist. We chit chatted and pedaled on. We leaped frog a bit off and on while working our way to Tomichi Pass. After negotiating Tomichi Pass the next party was the 45 minute hike a bike up Canyon Creek up to 12,600 plus feet. The cold weather this year wasn’t nearly as bad as it was two years ago. Fairly mild in my book. I had put some toe warmers in earlier on Alpine Tunnel preparing for the cold one hour descent down Canyon Creek at the coldest part of the morning. I had also switched my gloves to my Swix lobster gloves, put on my heavier Kokopelli jacket and a beanie over the noggin. The descent down was uneventful and I surprisingly caught up to Andy which had passed me atop Alpine Tunnel while I was bundling up. He was riding his single speed full rigid and was bouncing about in the rocks. Cya!!! I had lost Brett on the hike a bike on Tomichi Pass as well.

I arrived at the Snow Blind Campground where a hot breakfast was waiting. I had two pancakes and two sausage links. Dave Weins always mans this stop and he doesn’t disappoint. He cleans your chain and whatever else you may need done. Very awesome! I hustled off looking to the old Monarch Pass road climb. This climb is about 9 miles in length and take a bit of effort. Brett had caught up to me and we made good time motoring up the dirt road pushing each other to keep pedaling hard.. We arrived at Monarch Pass around 9.30ish. I dropped some cold weather gear I would not need for the remainder of the ride and refueled/refilled and headed out to tackle the Monarch Crest trail. I was roughly half way through if not a bit more. The Monarch Crest Trail is one of my favorite trails on this course and I had 10 miles to pedal before I would arrive at Marshall Pass. Once at Marshall Pass I saw that I was about a 30 minutes behind my schedule. Whatever I guess keep going. I knew that the Starvation Creek loop was going to be hard. I had cleaned the climb out of Starvation Creek last year but I knew this year it was going to be hard. I just didn’t know how hard yet. Brett and I made our way to the single-track on Starvation and it was fast and fun. Great conditions to boot. I dropped Brett on the descent…I was in a groove on the downhill. I made it out of the single track section and started the climb out. It was getting warm and I knew all too well what was to come. I knew right away that I was not going to clean this section. I was walking early on. This climb is about5 miles long and I must have walked half of it. Damn that was torture. I just kept thinking to myself to get to the top and the rest would be gravy. This 12 mile loop took me 2.5 hours.  I believe last year it only took me 1.75 hours. Oh well not much I could do about it. I refueled at the Marshall Aid station and went to get this thing knocked out. There was some climbing on the next section before the downhill descent on the Silver Creek trail. This trail last a handful of miles and finally dumps you out in a creek bed before starting the Rainbow Trail. At this point you hit the last rest stop and I drank a Coke and a Redbull along with some chips. The time was 3pm and I knew my time from last year was not going to be beaten. The people at the rest stops were amazing and take care of you like a bike king. I chatted for a few moments wondering if Brett was going to come out of the creek bed soon. He didn’t show so I rolled out with 9 miles of single track to conquer before hitting the asphalt to the finish. The Rainbow Trail would be fun with fresh legs and at mile 105 or so it hurts the legs. It has lots of drains that you go into and climb out. No major climbs but enough to sting. I ripped through this section passing lots of weekend warriors. These people were having fun it seemed but so was I off and on. They were taking a full day to ride the Crest trail which was taking me just a fraction of their time.

I hit the asphalt with about 9 miles to go and with the 32x22 it was slow going when I hit the frontage road to the finish at Absolute Bikes.  I finished just after 5pm. Damn that was a long night and day. This was my third  consecutive finish of the Vapor Trail and I'm not sure I will be back next year but this course rocks. Next year I have my vacation time already planned to do the Colorado Trail Race so the Vapor Trail will be open ended whether I do it or not. Depending on recovery.

I want to thank Shawn Gillis, Tom Purvis and especially all of the awesome volunteers that make this such a special event. Hands down the finest event out there in the endurance world. Thanks!!!!

Finishing time 19 hours 6 minutes  126.1 miles.17,100 feet of climbing. 8601 calories burned. I believe I was third single speeder.

Also a big thanks to my sponsor; Kokopelli Bike and Board. My Salsa Selma Ti single speed bike rode great. 

Awesome write up in Mountain Flyer by Eszter Horanyi:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vapor Trail 125 2012

Vapor Trail 125 Logo